The ARA Objects to ALP Public Holiday Law Promise

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Friday 22 March 2019: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) condemns the proposal put forward by the Andrews Labor Government’s to enshrine public holiday penalty rates for Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and Grand Final Friday into law.

Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the ARA said this suggestion put forward by the Labor Government will have a direct effect on retailers who are already struggling in the current retail climate.

“While the Andrews Government are focused on the interests of the employees, they are failing to acknowledge the hardworking retailers who are trying to stay afloat in the unpredictable retail environment,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“Retailers are feeling the pinch of rising rental costs and poor consumer sentiment and this proposal put forward by Mr Andrews will only heighten the strain already placed on retailers who are operating within such an overwrought market.”

According to recent trade figures published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), retail is trading at 3.02% nationally, with January trade figures for Victoria in particular trading at 4.23% well-below the outstanding 6.39% year-on-year high recorded in October. The ARA believes that if public holiday penalty rates are embedded into law, it will have a devastating impact on not only retailers but staff as well.

“The Labor Government’s proposition shows complete insouciance for retailers, especially those operating within shopping centre precincts who may be slapped with hefty fines for not opening their doors on public holidays,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“In addition to this, retailers will be forced to reconsider their rostering procedures to compensate for the increased wages for public holiday rates, which will have a direct impact on retail staff who want to work. If retailers are unable to open on these days, they will lose valuable business as consumers will turn to online instead.”

Australia has seen the closure of many retail stores over the last few months and the ARA believes the Andrews Labor Government’s announcement will only add to this sepulchral inclination.

“As a result of financial difficulties, Australia has already bared witness to the closure of many beloved retail stores and we do not wish to see this trend disseminate across the retail sector,” Mr Zimmerman

“The ARA disagrees with the Andrews Labor Government’s stance and will continue to advocate on this behalf of its members to protect the integrity and sustainability of the $320 billion-dollar retail sector.”

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For interview opportunities with Russell Zimmerman, ARA Executive Director, call the ARA Media Line on 0439 612 556, or email media@retail.org.au 

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is Australia’s largest retail association, representing the country’s $320 billion-dollar sector, which employs more than 1.3 million people. As Australia’s leading retail peak industry body, the ARA is a strong pro-active advocate for Australian retail and works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,800 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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